Internet2 To Get GigaFast

Someday, we might conquer the vast distances of space and visit the stars. But right now, on this planet, we are on the verge of eliminating distance itself. And the vehicle for eliminating distance is the next generation of the medium you are now using: the Internet.

The current Net has little to impede you as you search for information. If you want to find the exact height of the Eiffel Tower, for example, and also see a small video or a photo of it, you can, within seconds.

But if you want to have a live conversation with someone standing in front of the Eiffel Tower, at night, as if they were on the other side of a clear window — with the tower shimmering in more realistic detail than you can absorb — you have two choices. You can either fly there right now, or you can use a PC hooked into the next-generation Internet.

That's right: An Internet that leaves the current Internet in the dust is within reach. Some lucky individuals have already seen the possibilities thanks to the next-gen Net's major research network, a consortium of more than 300 universities, research labs, government agencies, and corporations called Internet2.

Internet2, a network primarily used by academic and research institutions is plenty fast when it comes to speed. It currently runs at about 10 Gbps. But that might seem downright glacial when the network operators are done with an upgrade. Plans are afoot to use 80 channels to pump 10 gigabits per second per channel, and upgrade the total backbone bandwidth to a whopping 800 Gbps.

The upgrade will use 80 different wavelengths to send the traffic that could make it possible for uncompressed hi-def video and video conferencing, over the net collaboration and even give a massive boost to grid computing.

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